Chasing the DevOps dream: An undergraduate's journey

Chasing the DevOps dream: An undergraduate's journey

From student to DevRel intern and open-source contributor featuring Kunal Verma

Hey readers, I have an exciting surprise for you! If you're wondering what this article is about, allow me to introduce our initiative. At WeMakeDevs, our goal is to support individuals in reaching new heights. Through this monthly blog series, we spotlight one community member, showcasing their journey and accomplishments. Our featured individuals come from diverse backgrounds and have found their place in technology through unique paths. This series aims to highlight their experiences and challenges along the way.

Welcome to a journey of passion and perseverance, where we delve into the life of a budding DevOps and Cloud Enthusiast. Join us as we explore the path of an undergraduate Computer Science student from India who has made remarkable strides in the world of technology. This young individual has accomplished what many can only dream of. With a deep-rooted love for open-source and a commitment to learning and empowering others, this is a story you don't want to miss.

So, shall we start?

Let's go!

Can you please give yourself an introduction and explain what you do?

I am an undergraduate Computer Science student from India. I am a DevOps and Cloud enthusiast & also passionate about open-source. I am currently a DevRel Intern at Devtron Inc., a reviewer for the Hindi localization of K8s Documentation, a CNCF Glossary Ambassador and a student mentor at the Data On Kubernetes Community. I have been involved in the open-source ecosystem for a while now and have contributed to projects like Kubernetes, Layer5 and others in the past. I strongly believe in learning & empowering others.

How did you first get started with tech?

My journey in the developer ecosystem started in 2020 when I just had entered a tier-3 college and wanted to take a different path for growing my skills and gaining industry exposure. Being able to interact with people from different backgrounds and experiences through communities made me stay and keep going ahead.

On your journey, there are times when you come across something that speaks to you and which has an impact on your mindset about growth, opportunities etc. My involvement with diverse global developer communities and the open-source ecosystem was that turning point for me.

I’ve had some great learning experiences in these communities, both as a member and now even as a mentor in some of them. I always try to give back to the community in any way I can, and learning in public is something I have always fostered since the start of my journey as a means of doing so.

Simplifying complex technical concepts for others, whether through writing a blog, threads, creating videos etc., are all the paths I’ve explored and have experience in, with the sole purpose of personal growth and, at the same time, empowering others. I always look forward to collaborating with folks and helping to build a diverse growth and learning environment for everyone!

As you are heavily involved in the cloud-native world, can you tell us how did you first find out about it and get started?

My journey in the cloud-native ecosystem started through attending Kubecon EU, which was held virtually for the very 1st time in 2020. To me, Kubecon was an opportunity to gain international exposure by networking with folks from different countries, attending the amazing sessions by industry experts, and who can forget the 101 networking session on the last day of the conference?!

I got the opportunity to witness the power of the Cloud-native ecosystem in modern-day applications & software. This marked an inclination for me to dive deep into the domain of DevOps and the Cloud. For someone like myself who was just getting started in this space back then, I believe that this kind of networking and learning experience certainly left a memorable mark on my journey & helped me to pave my next steps in the DevOps and cloud-native ecosystem.

Was cloud native the first community you joined? If not, can you share what was your first community and your experience in it?

Actually no. Though I got introduced to cloud-native at a very early stage of my tech journey, this wasn't something I knew I would get involved in when I started. As I mentioned, at the start of my college, I wanted to take a different path for growing my skills and gaining industry exposure, and that path for me was getting involved in open source.

The very first community that I became a part of was EddieHub. One of the most inclusive and helpful communities out there, led by the GitHub star himself, Eddie Jaoude. From learning about the fundamentals of open source and how to get involved with various communities out there to using the best practices, EddieHub truly helped me out in terms of building that foundation, and I feel that is what has kept me going ahead till now. To anyone starting out, I would highly recommend becoming a part of EddieHub.

Can you share about one of your best projects? How did you start the project? What was your inspiration, and how did it help you grow?

To be very honest, I haven't been able to spend much time on building a personal project as my focus lately has been towards open source and content creation etc. But recently, I built a project which is a very basic one, but it's special in the sense that it's my very 1st personal project in the DevOps ecosystem - using DevOps practices.

Here is the GitHub. So, it's a simple AWS deployment automation using Jenkins CI/CD. The name itself has so many new terms to learn, and that's what the overall project was all about - learning the essence of DevOps, i.e. automation at a very basic level.

How did you start the project?

Well, I wanted to build a very basic project using DevOps practices for a long time but couldn't find the right idea. I did a lot of googling but found a few guides on building a fundamental project for a beginner like me! Then, I came upon this playlist on youtube on the channel - TrainWithShubham, where he was actually building a live DevOps automation project, and the whole project idea really connected with what I wanted to build for the very 1st time as a project.

So, being honest, I just followed the video series, learned many new concepts, and faced a lot of errors while building, but I finally was able to build my very first project using DevOps concepts. I definitely plan to build more complex projects in the coming time as I learn new concepts.

Twitter is my answer for this one! I am really glad that I got introduced to the tech community on Twitter at a very early stage of my tech journey, and that has helped me quite a lot in my journey so far. If you follow the right people, and by right people, I mean folks who are related to your field of interest, in my case - DevOps, open-source, cloud-native, your feed would be filled with very interesting news, tools and topics each day and there is no limit to the amount of information you can get, trust me.

Apart from this, there are two newsletters (as of now) I have subscribed to and read each month:

  1. Cloud-native with Saiyam

  2. KubeLetter by WeMakeDevs

As you started contributing to the cloud native world as a student, did you face any challenges because you were a student?

Challenges - yes, challenges because I am a student - not at all.

That's what I love about the cloud native ecosystem and why I was attracted to it at first. Everyone is treated equally, even if you are a student or a working professional. You just have to be kind in your approach to conversing and asking questions, and you'll definitely love how people work and treat each other here.

In terms of facing challenges, whenever you are starting something new, you ought to face challenges because they are necessary to grow. I still remember that I didn't even know Git and GitHub properly when I made my first contribution to Kubernetes. It was a mess, to be honest. But again, the community really helped out here, and I was guided at each step. As you progress in your journey in this space, the challenges will keep getting tougher, and so will your confidence & knowledge to tackle them. So, keep moving forward, and never hesitate to ask for help from anyone! Here is a session I did with Siddhant and Anubhav on this very topic. Be sure to check that out: video

Would you like to share any upcoming projects or challenges you will take up in the coming days?

This year I really want to focus on these three aspects:

  1. Creating more content - be that videos, blogs or Twitter posts. (to share my learnings)

  2. I will be targeting a few certifications as well - like CKA, CKAD, KCNA.

  3. Contributing to open source in terms of code contributions or doing some nice personal projects.

What advice would you give someone looking to start their journey in cloud-native?

  1. Learn in public (helps you showcase your knowledge, increase your network, a proof of your work)

  2. Asking good questions and that too, in public (very important and a valuable skill to learn and grow in this space)

  3. Never hesitate to ask for help from anyone (the community wants you to grow and succeed)

  4. Just start (don't hesitate to make that first contribution, make that first project, have that very first conversation with someone new to you)

  5. All this will eventually help you to grow, and trust me, after a certain point, you'll start enjoying the whole learning process.

  6. If you are at a stage of your journey where you feel you have some knowledge that can help others, share it and help to start someone else's journey! Try to give back to the community as much as you can.

Don't forget to follow Kunal Verma here on Twitter.

So here comes the end, folks.

Thank you for taking the time to follow the journey of this remarkable young individual who continues to inspire and lead the way for others. As we come to the end of this blog, we hope it has given you a glimpse into the possibilities that can be achieved through hard work, dedication and a love for technology.

Stay tuned, as we have many more exciting community highlights to share with you in the near future. Keep an eye out for our next edition, where we will bring you the stories of individuals who are making a difference in the tech world. Until then, keep learning, growing and following your dreams!

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